Taking A Break From Blogging: Happy Thanksgiving, And Shop Local!

Barring a big breaking news event, I’ll be taking a few days off from blogging to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Please have a happy holiday. I hope you, too, can spend it surrounded by family, friends, great food, and football.

And shopping.

Indeed, if you plan to head out to stores this weekend — and I’m assuming many of you will — please consider shopping local.

There are a growing number of South Milwaukee merchants that would love to earn your business. Keep them in mind as you head out on Black Friday (or even Thursday night), or Small Business Saturday.

I created a Facebook page to tell some of their stories. And, in early December, look for my annual “12 Days” series on the blog highlighting some unique local shopping opportunities. Also, please post your favorites in the comments section.

Thanks for your continued support … of this blog, of our city, and of the work we’re doing to move South Milwaukee forward. I love being the mayor of this city, and am thankful every day for the opportunity to serve.

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A Focus On Economic Development

Economic development in South Milwaukee took two big steps forward Tuesday, with the City Council backing two key measures.

First, the council approved the hiring of an economic development coordinator for 2015. This 20-hour-per-week position will be a single point of contact when it comes to attracting and retaining business in South Milwaukee.

Marketing, relationship building, connecting business owners with assistance programs, ensuring proper procedures are being followed for opening a new business, coordinating our downtown efforts … all of these duties and more will be the responsibility of this critical new hire.

We’ll be posting the description soon. Stay tuned.

The council also approved the formation of a downtown advisory committee — another key part of our work in revitalizing our city center. This will be a nine-person committee that advises the Plan Commission and ultimately the council on issues related to downtown. It will be a key player in developing the downtown plan we’ll be embarking on in early 2015, but also regularly surface other ideas and issues related to our central business district.

The voice of business will be key here — the committee will include at least four downtown business/property owners, by design. There will also be four at-large members … and they’ll be asked to apply to be part of this group. It will be a brief application, but doing it this way will allow us to find people with the passion and skills necessary to lead this important effort. Stay tuned.

Here is the description of the committee.

Thanks for your continued support as we continue to drive economic development in South Milwaukee. I hope you’re as excited as I am about the progress we’re making.

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Dollars And Sense: City Council Passes 2015 Budget

The South Milwaukee City Council unanimously passed the 2015 budget Tuesday night … one that maintains our first-class services while providing needed investments in some key areas to better our city.

You can see the document here. Some highlights …

  • The city tax levy is budgeted to fall 4.96% to just over $10 million, due primarily to the shift of fire hydrant maintenance fees from the property tax to a fee on property owners’ water bills. You can learn more about that decision here.
  • Tax rates are also decreasing, from $8.85 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2013 to $8.41 per $1,000 in 2014.
  • Revenues are budgeted to increase 5.95% to more than $9.3 million, again primarily due to the hydrant fee shift.
  • Expenditures are budgeted to increase 0.8% to $18.7 million.

Obviously, there is a lot more detail behind all of this, and I share a lot of those details in my previous post.

In the end, I am proud of this first budget — proud of the investments it makes in our people, services and promising future. We are spending wisely to grow our city, and stepping up our game in key areas like economic development, downtown planning, urban forestry and human resources.

And we’re just getting started.

On, South Milwaukee!

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Hoan Bridge Update: Halfway There

Plenty of South Milwaukee commuters will find this update from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation valuable …

Construction on the I-794 Lake Freeway / Hoan Bridge Project is about to reach the halfway point.

Despite a frigid winter, crews were able to stay on schedule and are nearing completion of the eastbound (southbound) leg of the I-794 Lake Freeway / Hoan Bridge Project. In early December, the project will officially transition to the second and final stage of construction with an intended completion date of Fall 2015. During Stage 2 of the I-794 Lake Freeway / Hoan Bridge Project, bidirectional traffic will be placed in the eastbound (southbound) lanes of I-794, from a temporary crossover south of Carferry Drive. Traffic will remain in this configuration for the remainder of the project. To maintain as much access as possible during construction, other new configurations will include:

  • Closing the Jackson Street / Van Buren exit ramp and transforming it into an entrance ramp to I-794 West (North)
  • Opening the Broadway entrance ramp to I-794 East (South)
  • Utilizing temporary roadways
  • Continued use of the moveable barrier wall to maintain two lanes of traffic during peak travel times

As seen during Stage 1, periodic updates will continue to be sent throughout the project to remind motorists of upcoming closures, detour routes and other project related impacts. The project team appreciates your patience and understanding during this time of intense construction in your area.

Learn more about the project on its website, Facebook and Twitter.

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Some headlines from around the South Shore, including a touching story from South Milwaukee …

NOW has published a new police blotter.

And the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had great review of the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center’s performance over the weekend …

“Br(OK)en Genius” at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center: The best thing about this spoken-word event was its truth-telling about issues of race and inequality in Milwaukee. The operative word for the evening may have been “but,” placing an array of ideas in opposition to raw realities. Some of the best performances were the most minimal. Christopher McIntyre, the impresario of the night, contributed photography, which set the tone as much as anything else. His willful hopefulness is something to behold. It’s forceful but fragile. I wonder if the world — and the art world — will disappoint.

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Rocket Sports Update: Boys’ Basketball Season Opens, Food Drive Planned, Alumni Update

From the South Milwaukee School District …

The Rocket boys’ basketball teams open up their season tonight at Oak Creek.

  • 4:00pm – SM @ OC – freshman Boys’ BB
  • 5:30pm – SM @ OC – JV Boys’ BB
  • 7:15pm – SM @ OC – Varsity Boys’ BB

Please see the this poster from the OC National Honor Society for the food drive they are doing. Their goal is to collect at least 100 boxes of cereal, so if you are going to the games, please try to bring a box of cereal. Any non-perishable food will be accepted, however, every box of cereal you bring will earn a raffle ticket for a halftime drawing (during Varsity) for gift cards.

TREVOR STAUNER (Class of 2012)

Trevor Stauner was a standout 3-year varsity linebacker (Honorable Mention All-State as a senior) and All-Woodland running back for the Rockets as they started their playoff streak in 2009. Trevor has continued to stand out as a collegiate football player and was named 2nd Team All-IIAC,  He is #1 in the IIAC for total tackles and he is also ranked #9 for total tackles in the NCAA for all Division III Football.

CHAD SADOWSKI (Class of 2012)

Chad was also a standout All-Woodland Safety for the Rockets as they began their football playoff streak. Chad was also a starting LB this year for Dubuque and he recorded 13 tackles in the first 2 games of the season before sustaining an injury. Here is a link to the team page:


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Welcome To South Milwaukee, Moore’s Southern BBQ

South Milwaukee has a lot of great local restaurants. Italian, Mexican, Chinese, American café, bar fare …

Now you can add barbecue to the list. Moore’s Southern BBQ is now serving at Bottoms Up South, 500 Madison Ave.

Hours are 2 p.m. to 1 a.m., and they offer both dine-in and takeout.

The menu includes low and slow-smoked barbecue smoked brisket, pulled pork, smoked sausage links, rib tips and babyback ribs, with sides like baked beans, mac and cheese, potato salad,  and cole slaw. They also carry burgers, fried chicken,  Polish sausage, fried portabella mushrooms, and jalepeno poppers.

They have a Friday fish fry, taco Tuesdays, and an award-winning chili on Sundays.

Welcome to South Milwaukee! 

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